Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! begins with credits that proceed
like an MTV commercial—bright colors, flashy animation, and
upbeat music. It’s fun, but not substantial in the least way.
Regrettably, the same pattern continues when the live-action movie
begins. For a romantic comedy, it was neither romantic nor funny.
The plot is a simple love triangle. Rosalee (Bosworth),
Pete (Grace) and Cathy (Goodwin) are three friends
as well as employees at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store in
fictional Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia. Rosalee wins an online
promotional contest for a date with movie star Tad Hamilton (Duhamel)
and is flown off to Hollywood where she charms the megastar with
her pretty face and small-town values. Much to the chagrin of Pete,
who has secretly loved Rosalee for years, Tad arrives in Pete’s
own territory—the Piggly Wiggly that he manages—hoping
to establish a stronger relationship with Rosalee. She, on the other
hand, is swept off her feet in a whirlwind of Tad attention, and
Pete wonders how he’ll ever win her back. There is also a
local bartender (Hanh) who likes Pete, but this storyline
is so little developed that it might as well have been non-existent.
I must admit, I like going to romantic comedies for the “awww”
factor. It’s the times when a character does or says something
so sweet that all you can do in response is tilt your head to the
side and say “awww.” Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!
had very few sigh-worthy moments, with perhaps the only true “awww”
coming at the very end. The majority of the movie seemed too contrived
and straightforward. Supposedly meaningful speeches sounded like
lectures on morality, and nothing was quite believable. For example,
when Tad explains to Rosalee why he’s come to West Virginia,
he looks her straight in the eye and says, “I want your goodness
to rub off on me.” Perhaps I was supposed to swoon over this
statement, but it lacked emotional power, logic (even by movie standards),
and thus any affect on me.
Kate Bosworth as Rosalee Futch is cute, and bats her eyes and flashes
her toothy grin for all they’re worth. However, Rosalee’s
character isn’t interesting enough to merit so much attention
from the two leading men. Her part is that of the girl next door,
the moral center, the best friend you’ve had a secret crush
on. Instead, what we get is a girl who looks glamorous even when
she’s working at the grocery store, who is often willing to
throw away all her morals but is continuously saved by unfortunate
timing, and who acts distant around the boy she’s supposed
to have known for 22 years.
As for the other actors, Topher Grace does well as the exasperated
victim of unrequited love. He serves up a good mixture of disbelief,
rolling of eyes and sarcasm that provide bright moments in an otherwise
dull picture. Josh Duhamel’s Tad is good-looking and not an
egotistical jerk, but goes little beyond that. Nathan Lane
and Sean Hayes play Tad Hamilton’s agent Richard Levy
and publicist Richard Levy, respectively. I think the name thing
was supposed to be a joke, but it’s not a very good one.
I love the idea of having a small-town girl meet a Hollywood star
and uncovering the conflicts that arise. Unfortunately, Win A
Date With Tad Hamilton! tries too hard to be an earnest, heart-felt
movie and ends up being bland and unceremonious.